Hurricane Harvey has devastated families and destroyed homes and businesses. Its aftermath has truly illustrated the biblical idea of loving thy neighbor and helping others. As we watch the rescue efforts play out on our local and national news stations, we often wonder how we would respond in an emergency, a natural disaster. How will you P.R.E.P.?

Paper trail. Don’t sweat the junk, only gather the important stuff. Make copies of birth and marriage certificates. Laminate them or use sheet protectors to preserve them. Photocopy your insurance and social security cards and any other super duper important documents that would otherwise take weeks to replace. Make a list of current medications especially if you or a loved one is taking quite a few. Write down the number to your doctor or specialist. A clear paper trail of important documents can be the difference between refilling necessary medications today and waiting a few days for a prior authorization.

Run to the store. Only grab the essentials: water, snacks, first aid supplies, life jackets, flashlights, batteries etc. Surf the web for disaster preparedness supply lists based on the weather that hits your area. The key word is necessity.

Explain the plan. Tell everyone in your home the emergency plan. Children are especially hard to talk to about natural disasters and the possible scenarios. It’s been my experience that children, especially school-aged children, respond well to the truth but not the graphic kind. Allow everyone to bring one special item. This may help them cope better during uncertain times.

Pack it all away. The whole point of an emergency plan is that you are always ready for the emergency. You aren’t ready however if your supplies are scattered all over the house and garage. Get a storage bin for the supplies and a binder or expandable folder for all of your documents. Label the bin and pack it away.

It is not my intention to incite paranoia or paint the picture of doom. I simply want to convey the message that it’s better to be proactive rather than reactive.

Organize a P.R.E.P. party with your church friends, parent’s group or social club. Buy bulk supplies from Costco or Sams, divide it up and P.R.E.P. your family.